Therapeutic Recreation Faculty

Get to know the faculty members for the Therapeutic Recreation program on this page.

Tricia Rachfall, CTRS

Diploma Therapeutic Recreation (Douglas College); BEd (Victoria), MEd (British Columbia)

Involvement in the TR Program has given me a wonderful opportunity to share my excitement and passion for Therapeutic Recreation as well as my knowledge and experiences. It is inspiring to be involved with the future leaders of this profession. 

Opportunities for using Therapeutic Recreation are endless and there has never been a time where the benefits of leisure have been more accepted. I believe the TR profession will continue to grow, change, develop and blossom! 

Dr. Colleen Reid

PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in Health Promotion Research (University of British Columbia), MA in Human Kinetics (University of British Columbia), BA in Psychology (Queen’s University), B.PHE in Physical and Health Education (Queen’s University). 

In my career I have been actively engaged in research and advocacy in health promotion with a particular focus on the experiences of disadvantaged groups. I am interested in how a person's social context and status influence his or her health and well-being. In my program of research I focus on health inequalities, community development, access to leisure and recreation, and community-based research. I have taught and worked towards "democratizing" research, or, in other words, increasing the ways that people use and engage in research so that the research itself is relevant, meaningful, and action-oriented.

Prior to my time at Douglas I spent four years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. I am an Adjunct Professor, and supervise graduate students, at UBC, SFU and Dalhousie University. Since 2013 I have been principal investigator on 2 community based research projects in partnership with therapeutic recreation practitioners:

Imagining Inclusion: Creating Upstream Change in Community Mental Health

The Imagination Network: Raising the Curtain on the Lived Experience of Dementia

These research projects have strong participatory and knowledge translation components with high levels of student and community involvement. Together with these research teams I have developed TR program protocols, written research manuscripts, presented at conferences, hosted art and photo exhibits, and produced an interactive play.

Janice Spencer

Assoc. of Arts (Trinity Western University), BA (Southwest State University, Minn), Therapeutic Recreation Diploma (Douglas College), MEd (University of British Columbia)

In my role as department co-coordinator, I liaise with Therapeutic Recreation professionals and community groups to ensure the department delivers high educational standards and prepares students for professional practice in a wide range of therapeutic recreation settings. As an instructor in the Therapeutic Recreation program, I teach in the areas of life span development, inclusion, mental health, current issues in TR and supervise students on practicum.

Research interests include exploring and understanding transformative learning and the lived experience of students and clients in practicum settings; how the intersectionality of engagement, interdependence and valued social roles can shift perspectives, change meaning making and transform lives. I am actively involved in the Uganda Project, including past coordination of the student practicum project and the International Youth Internship program (IYIP).

One of the strengths of our Therapeutic Recreation Department is the creation of shared space and collaborating with students, faculty and community to enhance teaching and learning.

Dr. Sarah Moore, CTRS

Diploma Therapeutic Recreation (Niagara College), BLRS Therapeutic and Inclusive Recreation (Brock University), MSc Applied Health Sciences (Brock University), PhD Experimental Medicine (University of British Columbia)

I first began studying Therapeutic Recreation (TR) almost 15 years ago and it feels like I have come full circle to now be teaching in TR at Douglas College. I have worked with a variety of groups including older adults with cognitive impairments, children and adults with developmental disabilities, and children with physical disabilities (cerebral palsy). My primary interest is how engaging in TR programs enhances the lives of our clients and their families. I have spent the last several years researching how the human body adapts to engaging (or not engaging) in physical activity, recreation, and sport. The benefits are numerous and I hope to share the evidence of this with our TR students. 

Dr. Susan Purrington, CTRS

AA in Behavioral and Social Sciences (Butte College), BS in Recreation Administration, Therapeutic Recreation (California State University, Chico), MA in Recreation Administration, Event Management (California State University, Chico), Ph.D. in Leisure Behavior (Indiana University)

I’ve been in the leisure services industry for almost 20 years and have found true joy in improving individuals’ lives through and in recreation and leisure. I have worked with youth-at-risk, young adults, people with mental illness, older adults, and those with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. From summer camps and youth ministry, to community and clinical settings, my background allows for a thorough discussion about inclusive environments.

My research has been rooted in the social experience of digital device use, and also in mental health and first year student transition. In recent years, I have investigated the use of GoPro technology in the classroom as a reflective tool for TR students as they prepare for practicum experiences. I’ve taught at California State University, Chico, Indiana University, SUNY Cortland (Cortland, NY), and am thrilled to join the well-regarded program at Douglas College.

Jennifer Affolder, CTRS

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Recreation Administration, Special Populations (University of Alberta), Masters of Arts Degree in Leadership and Health Specialization (Royal Roads), Certificate in Advanced Practice in Child and Youth Mental Health (Douglas College). 

My clinical background in TR is varied, and I have extensive experience in mental health, adolescent psychiatry, and have also worked as a TR supervisor in acute care and in community settings. I currently work as a consultant with the Foundry.

My passions and interests are with health promotion, fitness, group leadership, and mentoring others. I value innovative and collaborative practice and learning.  It is inspiring to work at Douglas College and engage with future leaders in the field of TR. I am excited for the year ahead!